Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The outside world

We’re all Joe Durso, to some extent. In a strong contender for “Article of the Year”, Kenny wrote of him (and his ilk) “in the absence of mainstream acceptance, they cling to scraps of fleeting fame, seek out the company and comfort of those who recognize the significance of their accomplishments, and dream of a day when the world at large will recognize their greatness.” This is me, although I’m going to quibble over parts. I know that my accomplishments are possible only because we’re such a small and minor sport that the Div I athletes don’t bother with it, so I’m not looking for the world to acknowledge my greatness, any more than I want them to acknowledge my Div C modified fast pitch softball championship (yeah, Cougars!). But I do want the world to understand that it is an accomplishment worthy of my time and effort.

I enjoy being a minor celebrity (or, as Corey said on the podcast, “add a few more ‘minor’s in front of that”) in the world of ultimate. I appreciate being around people who feel as strongly about the game as I do. And yes, I’m a little bit afraid of the day where ultimate is not part of who I am but simply part of my past (a very special part, perhaps, but still in the past).

And as for clinging to scraps of fleeting fame, well, yes, there is that aspect, but the larger part is the thrill of the chase. You put in all the work in order to have a shot at, well, greatness. But even for those who seek the limelight, what makes for greatness is not the acknowledgment of the outside world, but the acknowledgment of your inner self that what you are doing is important to you. But the thing is that almost all of us need some confirmation of this from the outside world. It is a rare man who doesn’t care in the least what other people think, and kudos to Mr. Dobyns for having that in him and for being able to move on to other important things in life. (Check back with me five or six years after I retire; maybe things will look differently then.)

Also to the point is that “the outside world” is not the 6 billion others who inhabit the planet, but those who we come into contact with, and those close to us. Kenny’s mom would load up her wagon and drive 10 hours to feed Kenny’s teammates, even when Kenny wasn’t there. His older brother played, married a frisbee chick, and still coaches. Do you think he’d be so dismissive of the outside world if this part of the outside world did not acknowledge the importance of the game to him? My parents and my personal outside world have for the most part embraced my commitment, and that has made all the difference.

Here’s a guess that Kenny or Artie can check on sometime: when Joe Durso won his first national championship, his mom probably told him, “I guess this means you can give up that silly game.”


Anonymous said...

In a strong contender for “Article of the Year”, Kenny wrote

article of the year? oh, the irony...

kenny, maybe even if you're not known in podunk carolina for your nyny success, one day you can attain that claim to fame as the recipient of the first inaguaral frisbee blog "article of the year"

you can even start a new shrine to yourself--not as a player of a unkown, alternative sport...but as a retired commentator of said sport.

Joe's Brother said...

In one of Reader's Digest's short anecdotes in the page footer, I once read that, later in his career while nursing an injury and in a sling, Joe Montana was eating at a restaurant and his waitress asked what had happened. "I hurt myself playing football," he explained. Her follow-up question was, "aren't you a little old to be playing football?"

I wonder how much fame is enough for guys like Joe.

Anonymous said...


That Kenng G Joe Durso piece read like a "separated at birth" column to me.


Mark said...

I am not so sure about the need for others around you fully embracing ultimate to avoid the ire that Joe has. My parents were always against me playing "that silly sport." Blaming it on why I was not married, only made barely 6 figures and many other ridiculous charges. I played happily for about 10 years, captaining sub-zero to worlds in 2001, and can say that I am happily retired riding my harley in the summer/fall.
Mark Severt

Justin R said...

we have a book. what do they have?

Dennis said...

Reminds me of a poem I sent to DoG (I think it was inspired by Moons' 40th B-day...) This was after the
Lexington win, our first championship...


He stands alone at a Lexington site
Hoping to reminisce before the approach of night.
Upon fields like these, he grew from naïf to sage
Trading the sprints of youth for the poaches of age.

One deep breath, as he struggled to remember
His glory days from a special November.
It was here he achieved the elusive finals win.
But as time slips away, these thoughts grow dim.

He returned to the fields to fill some lack,
To relive the moment before it fades to black.
But rain has come and the dark draws near.
He’d sought past glories but only found fear.

He’d traveled west through waves of grain,
And places east not reached by train.
To death, he found nothing more germane
Than his playgrounds past left in the rain.